Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Can Ron Paul Be Our Next President?

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Ron Paul’s remarkable showing in the California Republican straw poll is beginning to make many conservatives think the unthinkable: that Ron Paul could win the Republican nomination for President and even be elected in November 2012 in a kind of once-in-a-century upset.

He achieved a statistical tie to win the Iowa straw poll, and his overwhelming victory in the California straw poll has made him a major contender for the nomination. He also won the straw poll in Texas, his home state, by forfeiture.

In a compelling article in the Daily Capitalist (9/17/11), Robin Koerner, an economist, muses that the United States may be on the brink of a “phase change” which can produce an abrupt radical political upheaval. That’s how he reads the nation’s increasing favor with the kind of radical change that Paul has advocated in the debates. Koerner writes:

First, and most directly, he [Paul] does extremely well in polls. The organization of his grassroots support is not just excellent; it is remarkable, by historic and global measures. His ability to raise money from actual voters is second to none. His appeal to independents and swing voters is an order of magnitude greater than that of his competitors. Secondarily, he has more support from military personnel than all other candidates put together, if measured by donations; he has the most consistent voting record; he has the magical quality of not coming off as a politician; he oozes integrity and authenticity, and, as far as we know, he has a personal life and marriage that reflects deep stability and commitment.

Can Paul gain the Republican nomination at the convention in August 2012? It will require a lot of pro-Paul delegates, and judging from what we’ve seen so far in Iowa, California, and Texas, he may be what conservative Republicans really want, a revolution in their own party, and a revolution in America that will take apart the socialist-welfare state and return us to true economic freedom. Koerner writes:

If Paul wins, it won’t be because he is the kind of candidate Americans have always gone for. It will be precisely because Americans have collectively decided on a dramatically new way of doing business — a new political and economic paradigm — and then he’ll not only have ceased to be a long shot; he’ll be the only shot.

Let us suppose that Paul wins the Republican nomination; who will be his Democrat opponent? There is growing disillusionment among former Obama supporters who are becoming convinced that he will lead the Democrats to such a huge defeat that they may never be able to recover from it. The Democrat defeats in New York’s Ninth District and in Nevada have shaken the liberal establishment like no other recent events, and they may decide that they need someone else to lead a liberal ticket in 2012. But who? Hillary Clinton? Not an impossibility. Who else is there among the Democrats?

Will Ron Paul be able to defeat Hillary should she gain the nomination? She is as much a socialist at heart as Obama, but does not make her socialist views known in public. She admired Saul Alinsky, and the latter thought so highly of her that he wanted to recruit her as a community organizer. But she preferred to go to Yale and become a smart attorney. At Yale she met Bill Clinton and sized him up as a potential winner in the political sweepstakes. The rest is history.

The one problem that Paul will have with some voters is his foreign policy. Conservatives and libertarians love his domestic economic ideas. They want the kind of revolution that would dismantle half the federal agencies and departments, abolish the Federal Reserve, get rid of the income tax and the much-feared IRS, restore economic freedom, and get us out of the United Nations.

But when it comes to foreign policy he will certainly face criticism from politicians such as John McCain and other hawks on issues related to Iraq and Afghanistan and the maintenance of foreign bases around the world. Would he honor our commitment to Taiwan? Would he withdraw from NATO? And what about the Middle East? Will his policy alienate the Jewish vote? Probably. Paul has said things about Israel in the past that have caused great concern among Jewish conservatives. He is not as antithetical to steadfast Israel supporters as Jimmy Carter, who outwardly supports the Palestinian cause with his writings, but Paul seems to give the benefit of the doubt in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, in favor of the Palestinians.

Of course, he is no more in favor of foreign aid to Israel than he is to any other country, including the Palestinians. But how will he handle the war against radical Islam? These are issues that he will have to address as the prospect of gaining the nomination becomes more realistic.

Which means that Paul ought to start taking trips around the world to see what we face as a nation involved internationally — politically and economically. I don’t expect him to be invited to address the Council on Foreign Relations, or attend a Bilderberg conference, or an economic powwow in the Swiss Alps. But he must begin to show that he has some firsthand knowledge of the world at large.

What would he do about Cuba? Venezuela? China? North Korea? The Islamic Brotherhood? Everyone will be interested in what he has to say about all of these issues. We live in a dangerous world and the main purpose of government is to protect the American people from their avowed enemies. After all, if Paul is elected President he will also be Commander-in-Chief of our military forces around the world. He will no doubt promise not to risk American lives in dubious wars all over the globe.

Virtually every American President has had to face the prospects of war. Wilson in World War One. FDR and Truman in World War Two and Korea. Eisenhower with Korea and the Cold War. In the interim the communists took over Cuba 90 miles from our shores. JFK failed to liberate Cuba with the Bay of Pigs, and he got us started in Vietnam. LBJ escalated the war in Vietnam. Nixon inherited Vietnam, and tried to end it. Ford finally closed the Vietnam page. Carter messed up in Iran, but he brought about a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt. Reagan invaded Grenada and over 200 Marines were killed in Beirut. George H. W. Bush invaded Panama, got us into Desert Storm and kicked Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait. Clinton oversaw our war against Osama bin Laden and failed to get him. And Bush was saddled with 9/11, the most serious attack against the United States since Pearl Harbor. We then went to war in Afghanistan and Iraq. Obama inherited both wars and we are still in them.

In other words, Paul will have to deal realistically with the world as it is, not as we would like it to be. Will he decide that we must beef up our military to meet a potential Chinese threat? As the possibility of Paul’s winning the nomination becomes greater, it behooves the great Texan libertarian to brush up on his geography and geopolitics. If he has not already done so, he should assemble a team of experts to advise him on foreign policy issues, so that he is ready to answer the difficult questions that will inevitably be asked.

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